Saturday, May 21, 2011

SIFF (1)

The Seattle International Film Festival’s opening gala was Thursday night, but its first full day of films was yesterday; I went to two of them.

Submarine was adapted from a novel and directed by a British comic, Richard Ayoade.  It is set in Wales in the mid-80s but the year isn’t too important; you only know it is the ‘80s because of a reference to the new movie Crocodile Dundee.  The main character who provides a lot of voice over narration is Oliver Tate, a 15 year old high school student who is quite adept at analyzing his popularity status and various options in wooing girls.  The film has a Rushmore vibe, but Oliver Tate is no Max Fischer.  The majority of the plot is an ellipsis around two poles, Oliver nurtures the beginnings of a relationship with the feisty Jordana and he suspects his mother of infidelity with the new next door neighbor who wears black leather pants and proclaims himself a mystic.  Oliver does not balance these two ‘problems’ very well and the pole involving his mother’s suspected infidelity feels forced and trite.
I do not recognize the two actors who play Oliver and Jordana, Craig Roberts and Yasmin Paige, but I suppose if you watch TV in Britain you will.  The poster has a large “Ben Stiller Presents” at the top of it so the film has star-backing and I even think he makes a cameo but it would be very hard to see him.  Submarine is slated for a 10 June U.S. release but I am not recommending this movie; go watch Rushmore again.
The second film is from Denmark, Alting bliver got iben “Everything will be Fine”.  A script writer is involved in a hit and run incident and instead of staying at the scene to wait for help, the victim tells him to take his backpack and get out of there.  Inside are photos of Danish soldiers torturing what I assume are Iraqis.  A mystery and suspense thriller ensue with government agents, shadowy figures the protagonist cannot be sure he can trust, relationship problems, work stress, possible mental illness, and one of the worst endings imaginable.  The film had to end some way and this one lands with a loud thud.  Everything will be Fine was at last year’s Cannes Film Festival and currently has no U.S. release date; good, it would not make very much money here.  If crowds want to spend their money on crap, they go see the latest action or animated film.  Lackluster mysteries usually fall through the cracks.      

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